Workforce, Certification & Training

Proportion of women in rail growing: ARA Survey

More women than ever are participating in the rail industry, survey results released today show.

The Australasian Rail Association’s (ARA) 2018-2019 Gender Diversity Survey has recorded a six per cent improvement in the percentage of women in the rail workforce. Women now make up 27 per cent of the rail industry workforce. 22 per cent of management roles are now held by women, a 3 per cent increase.

Announcing the results, ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie said that while the figures are positive, there is more that can be done.

“While it is great to see these improvements across the industry, women’s participation in rail remains below the national average and shows there is still more work to do.”

The sector also saw a dramatic jump in the number of organisations that have employer funded paid parental leave, rising from 16 per cent in 2016-2017 to 62 per cent in 2018-2019.

The survey builds upon the ARA’s Women in Rail Strategy, which was launched in 2017. The Strategy focuses on attraction and promotion, improved networks, retention, and national benchmarking to encourage gender diversity in the rail industry.

The survey has highlighted organisations within the rail industry that are making a concerted effort to have a gender diverse workforce. 86 per cent of organisations have formal policies or strategies to support gender diversity, and over half have specific recruitment policies or strategies to improve gender balance. Furthermore, three quarters had policies in support of flexible work arrangements in place.

“We have seen a really strong push to attract more women to the industry and retain those already in the industry since our last survey and expect to see further improvements on these outcomes in the near future,” said Wilkie.

The survey included responses from 42 organisations working in the rail industry, which combined represent over 50,000 employees.

The sector with the highest proportion of women were consultants, with 38 per cent. Consultants also had the highest proportion of respondents with gender diversity policies or strategies, with 100 per cent of respondents reporting a policy or sector.

Women made up a lower proportion of non-manger roles such as clerical and administrative roles, and sales roles in the 2018-2019 survey, however the proportion of women in technicians and trade and labourers roles rose. There were jumps in the proportion of women in key management personnel, other executives/general managers, and senior managers.

 

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